"It breedeth no small offence and scandal to see and consider upon the one part the curiosity and cost bestowed by all sorts of men upon their private houses; and on the other part the unclean and negligent order and spare keeping of the houses of prayer by permitting open decays and ruins of coverings of walls and windows, and by appointing unmeet and unseemly tables with foul cloths for the communion of the sacrament."
"Is there any religion but this, to know, that, wherever in the wide desert of being, the holy sentiment we cherish has opened into a flower, it blooms for me? If none sees it, I see it; I am aware, if I alone, of the greatness of the fact. Whilst it blooms, I will keep sabbath or holy time, and suspend my gloom, and my folly and jokes."
"The religion of England is part of good-breeding. When you see on the continent the well-dressed Englishman come into his ambassador's chapel and put his face for silent prayer into his smooth-brushed hat, you cannot help feeling how much national pride prays with him, and the religion of a gentleman."
"The physicians say, they are not materialists; but they are:MSpirit is matter reduced to an extreme thinness: O so thin!--But the definition of spiritual should be, that which is its own evidence. What notions do they attach to love! what to religion! One would not willingly pronounce these words in their hearing, and give them the occasion to profane them."
"I knew a witty physician who found theology in the biliary duct, and used to affirm that if there was a disease in the liver, the man became a Calvinist, and if that organ was sound, he became a Unitarian."
"Let us not deny it up and down. Providence has a wild, rough, incalculable road to its end, and it is of no use to try to whitewash its huge, mixed instrumentalities, or to dress up that terrific benefactor in a clean shirt and white neckcloth of a student of divinity."
"Religion is by no means a proper subject of conversation in mixed company; it should only be treated among a very few people of learning, for mutual instruction. It is too awful and respectable a subject to become a familiar one."
"We have had nineteen centuries of ecclesiastical teaching and preaching, and what do we see in our midst? Tens of thousands of honest and industrious poor begging--not for bread, but for labour; thousands of malicious loafers looking evilly aslant at wealth; myriads of fallen women pacing the streets and alleys of our towns that they may degrade for temporary hire, to men more debased than themselves, those frail bodies which should be "temples of the living God." We see millions toiling early and late for the mere necessaries of life. We see an inordinate desire for wealth and luxury, to the exclusion of duty and of pity and consideration for others. We see the wealthy and gifted too often abandoned to sensuality and frivolity."
"While we honour religion and believe it to be a powerful factor in elevating our race, we discriminate, as we hope our readers will also do, between it and dogmatism. Dogmatism has been the bane of civilization and a curse to mankind. It has degraded our sex, stifled intelligent inquiry, and persecuted every independent reformer and every noble cause."
"There is undoubtedly something religious about it: everyone believes that they are special, that they are chosen, that they have a special relation with fate. Here is the test: you turn over card after card to see in which way that is true. If you can defy the odds, you may be saved. And when you are cleaned out, the last penny gone, you are enlightened at last, free perhaps, exhilarated like an ascetic by the falling away of the material world."
"A religion, that is, a true religion, must consist of ideas and facts both; not of ideas alone without facts, for then it would be mere Philosophy;Mnor of facts alone without ideas, of which those facts are symbols, or out of which they arise, or upon which they are grounded: for then it would be mere History."
"It is a commonplace that all religion expresses itself in mythological or metaphorical terms; it says one thing and means another; it uses imagery to convey truth. But the crucial fact about religion is not that it is metaphor, but that it is unconscious metaphor. No one can express any thought without using metaphors, but this does not reduce all philosophy and science to religion, because the scientist knows that his metaphors are merely metaphors and that the truth is something other than the imagery by which it is expressed, whereas in religion the truth and the imagery are identified. To repeat the Creed as a religious act it is necessary not to add "All this I believe in a symbolical or figurative sense": to make that addition is to convert religion into philosophy."
"Art has no cosmology, it gives us no view of the universe; every distinct work of art gives us a little cosmology of its own, and no ingenuity will combine all these into a single whole. But religion is essentially cosmological, though its cosmology is always an imaginative cosmology. Any given religious experience can be fitted by this cosmology into the scheme of the whole, and labeled as an ascent into the third heaven, a temptation of the devil, and so forth. Hence religion is social, as art can never be. The sociability of artists is a paradoxical and precarious thing, and ceases the instant they begin their actual artistic work. But the sociability of religion is part of its fundamental nature. The life of religion is always the life of a church."